Re: Negotiations Update
With the assistance of mediator Vince Ready and the tireless efforts of your APBC Negotiations Committee, we’ve seen some promising progress at the bargaining table this week.
While we have seen progress and many issues have been agreed to in principle, we are still working on our biggest issue, which is the significant and ongoing wage disparity between us and other emergency services in BC, and comparable paramedic colleagues from across Canada. While our negotiations are still in progress, we have made it clear that we will not take a deal to our membership that doesn’t address our wages and benefits in a meaningful way. Without this, our service will not be able to recruit paramedics in the numbers we need to address our staffing crisis, let alone retain the members that we have. This is the single biggest issue facing our future, and we will not move forward without it being addressed.
In that spirit, our Negotiations Committee with the guidance of Vince Ready, has submitted a proposal to HEABC that outlines and addresses our key issues of compensation. We are pausing our negotiations until early January while HEABC and BCEHS work with government for costing and response, and have time to deliver a proper response with real solutions. We are reconvening on January 5th and 6th with Vince Ready, to review and hopefully continue the progress we saw in the last week.
To show our good faith and in recognition of the progress made at the bargaining table this week, we have agreed to extend the Interim Staffing Measures until the end of January 31, 2023. The employer wanted this extended for 90 days, but we have made it clear that if we don’t see a continuation of this important progress at the table, the staffing measures will be reviewed on January 13th to determine next steps.
As we pause during the Christmas break and focus on our meetings in early January, your Provincial Executive Committee is meeting with the Negotiations Committee to discuss all our options moving forward. We are also continuing our important media campaign and doing interviews and media requests on a daily basis, highlighting the dire staffing issues and pressures we face.
We want to make it very clear- we are steadfast in our beliefs that this is our time to close the wage gap and finally address the ongoing issues with the ambulance service. Now is the time for us to fight for our patients and our profession, and we will not bring anything less than our very best deal to the membership.
In closing, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year.
Please click HERE to view a joint memo on extending the interim measures.
On behalf of the Negotiations Committee and Provincial Executive Committee,
Ambulance Paramedics of BC
CUPE Local 873